Rockfield funding package is nearly there

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People are desperate to know when work will finally start on Oban’s new Rockfield Centre but there are still a few legal hurdles to complete first.

Oban Communities Trust chairman Gordon McNab says nothing can be confirmed until all legalities are concluded.

Only when the last part of the £3 million funding package is finalised can the trust complete the tender process and announce the successful contractor for refurbishing the former primary school’s main building.

‘We know people are desperate to know when the work will start but we have a few more legal hurdles to complete before we can confirm anything,’ said Mr McNab.

Funds needed to reach the goal are mounting up closer to the £3 million target.

The project has just received a £70,000 boost from the Co-op Foundation’s Community Spaces programme, the first scheme in Scotland to get its support.

Mr McNab said: ‘This is excellent news which racks up our funding package further to the £3 million goal.’

Just before Christmas, Highlands and Islands Enterprise announced it was awarding £200,000 to the project, which has already brought in £210,000 from a community shares offer.

Since the community bought the building in May 2015 it has run a determined fundraising campaign as well as a whole programme of community activities in huts in the playground promoting arts, culture, heritage and community wellbeing.

‘Until the final pieces of the jigsaw are in place, work behind the scenes continues as usual. Decisions on the internal fit-out plans have been working in parallel with the fundraising and the trust has established advisory groups for heritage, arts and culture, and wellbeing from
existing volunteers,’ said Mr McNab.

Building project manager Andrew Pinkerton has been toiling hard with the design team to get everything finalised for the works to begin, and the building is dry and stable.

Eleanor MacKinnon, project facilitator, said: ‘One of the most amazing things about the whole project is the amount of volunteering that goes on behind the scenes to allow so many of our events  to happen.

‘This past year has seen more than 8,400 volunteers hours of time donated to progress this project. These are only the hours that have been recorded but I know of many, many hours that never make it to our tracking system. We are all very excited about the forthcoming few months and everyone is ready to see the start of a new era for The Rockfield Centre.’